Author: Brenda Holland

Jerusalem: a living museum

Israel has long been a destination at the top of my bucket list, and I recently returned from there deluged with the knowledge of a very foreign culture and its history. A trip to Israel is history brought to life, a living museum. Personally, it’s the culture, daily lives, and rituals of the people that fascinate me. Israel is such a small country containing a conflux of numerous religions. The main 3 are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The feeling for me while there is how extreme religion is. By this I mean religion is life! Everywhere you look there...

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My Top 5 Highlights of Turkey 2015

I really hope to be back here again someday. There is so much more to see and do. I barely had enough bonding time with Turkey. Turkish Air What a nice airlines. We flew economy round-trip and it was as comfortable as a long haul flight could be. The food was Turkish and pretty good for airline food. Alcohol was free of charge and the selection of juices offered where OJ, apple, and cherry (?)—several people around me were ordering cherry– it must be a Turkish thing. The flight was comfortable, with individual entertainment screens in the head rest...

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Highlights of Greece 2015

May 2015 trip to Greece and Turkey. Below are my top 5 personal highlights of Greece. I will follow soon with my list of high points of Turkey. Food For some reason food always seems to find its way in my “best of” blogs. I made a list of “must try foods” before leaving on my journey and I wasn’t disappointed: calamari (fresh), real Greek yogurt, baklava, fried sardines, and olives. I even found that I enjoyed eggplant and stuffed grape leaves, items I don’t normally care for. No ships! Unbelievable, but yes, there were no other cruise ships in the ports until the last day arriving in Istanbul. Timing and pre-season was on our side. Normally, there could be 3-4 large passenger ships sharing the island ports of calls. Yay for shoulder season! The craziest thing of all was at embarkation. When the 4 of us were dropped off at the Piraeus port terminal, we were greeted at the van by two welcoming Windstar representatives pointing us in the right direction. We were relieved because we thought we were at the wrong place since there was absolutely no crowd of other cars or buses around. Inside the terminal not a single soul besides the people working there! I kept looking around in disbelief that we were the only passengers checking-in to board the ship (or yacht, as they...

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7 Things You Should Know About Travel Insurance

First off, I am a travel agent and not an insurance expert. This list is general, because there are many variations and plans available. I hope to give you just a little more understanding and knowledge about what kind of questions to ask when looking to purchase travel insurance. What a typical insurance plan covers– Sickness, injury, death, or death in the family. Coverage is for cancellation prior to and during the trip. If you need medical attention, or if there is an emergency back home that would cause you to end the trip early, this is called trip interruption. Most policies provide coverage for your major travel expenses, including some medical coverage, emergency evacuation, and baggage loss or delay. Missed connections due to weather and flight delays are another issue of concern and are covered in many insurance plans. Points to know: • To be covered for pre-existing medical conditions, you must generally purchase insurance within 2 weeks of deposit. This is true even if you are just putting down a $100 deposit on a $2000 trip and final payment is 8 months away. Lately, though, some cruise line insurance plans will let you purchase the policy when you make final payment. • In some cases, especially for travelers over 70 years old, a cruise line insurance plan can be quite a bit less than one offered by...

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Choosing an All-Inclusive Resort

I now can say that I have stayed at, visited, and toured several all-inclusive resorts. My last trip when I stayed at a great all-inclusive on the Mayan Riviera was fantastic, and it may have even nudged its way up in rank over a cruise. In my opinion, this is the best vacation choice when needing some downtime and relaxation. I have learned that all-inclusive resorts are not all the same. Although their structure is basically beach, swimming pools, food and bars, they really can be very different. Just like cruise ships, they have been evolving and updating too. Some can feel very garden and jungle-like with birds and iguanas, while others have a young South Beach Miami/Las Vegas ambiance. I’m also noticing more resorts focusing on health and wellness featuring smoothie bars, California lite cuisine, quality fitness centers, and outdoor training circuits. Some questions to ask yourself and to relay to your travel planner when choosing a resort – Swimmable beach or swimming pool, what’s more important? Beach shade (from cabanas or palm trees)–nice for sleeping, reading, or keeping kids out the direct sun? Room location? Ocean-front or garden view each have benefits. Ocean-front is great, but remember direct sun can make it hot in your room and on your balcony, plus you better have good dark curtains/shades for keeping out the morning sun. Garden view is obviously...

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